You know that old saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Nowadays we should change it to “Nothing is free on the internet.” This is especially true when a website claims they are a free hosting site for WordPress. Offering website hosting services is incredibly costly. It requires hardware like servers, intelligent software, and the expertise of a team of skilled IT professionals, none of which come neither free nor cheap. So when you see an advertisement offering a free hosting site for WordPress, know that nothing is free on the internet.
Nothing Is Free On The Internet
Sure a site may not charge you any money for a free hosting site for WordPress, but you absolutely will pay in other ways:
Your Website Will Be Used For Advertising Other Companies
The most common free hosting site for WordPress just sells space on your website to other companies. Advertising leading to sales you will never see a dime from. No matter how big you build your audience and how many people see and click those ads, you will never get paid for advertising someone else’s services on your website. This advertising is the real payment for their “free” services.
Your Website Will Mine And Collect Data
Most of the websites that are free to the user, mine and collect data. This data is then sold to companies to build lead lists, evaluate sales potential, and target market their products. There’s big money in mining and collecting data, but there’s a huge problem with this collection. People trust your brand and if you are inadvertently selling their data because you chose a free hosting site for WordPress, you aren’t protecting their privacy.
Your Website May Be Used As A Link Farm
One of the ways that Google determines search engine ranking is with backlinks. Backlinks are a link from one site to another. The idea is that if a site has a lot of credible links, then it is an authoritative website on a topic and therefore, should rank higher. Many people know this, so they will set up a free hosting site for WordPress to create a list of websites they can farm for these backlinks. These backlinks usually point to something illicit like gambling, fake drugs, and even identity theft. This can do serious damage to your brand.
Your Website May Distribute Malware
Another issue with free hosting sites for WordPress is you may end up distributing malware to your visitors. This can happen two ways. First, these hosting services are notorious for having terrible security, so they will target all the free hosted sites for distribution of their malware. Secondly, the hosting sites themselves may just be a front for using their free sites to distribute malware. Another shady way you may end up paying.
Your “Free” Website Is Actually Just A Trial
Finally, even if you don’t pay for your free hosting site for WordPress from these shady ways, you may still end up simply paying for it. Many of these free websites are actually just free trials, that lock you into expensive contracts with fine print on their “free” service. These contracts are often legally binding and may cost you way more money in the long run than if you would have just gone with a paid service.
Free WordPress Hosting Usually Means Poor Quality
Even if you are lucky to escape some of the shadier aspects of free hosting and can find a legitimate free hosting site for WordPress, free still means poor quality. When you choose a free provider there are many ways your website will suffer. Free websites:
- Are painfully slow and have poor load times
- Have small bandwidth
- Use bad domain names like www.mydomain.freewebhost.com
- Offer no features
- Have no customer support
- Lack important security features
- Can be shut down at any time for no reason
- Have limited design choices
- Provide very little disk storage
- Limit the number of pages you can have
- Are not backed up
- Do not have analytics
- Have no mobile optimization
I could go on and on and on with this list. Ultimately, a free hosting site for WordPress is a bad hosting site for WordPress.
You Deserve Better Than Free WordPress Hosting
As you can see, free WordPress hosting is really not worth it. Honestly, I wouldn’t even recommend it for practicing building websites. I would also say that most of the above list applies to cheap WordPress hosting as well. There’s really not much of a financial difference between a free WordPress host and a host that charges $1/month, so you can’t expect much in terms of a service difference. Many of the cheap hosts also pull some of the same dirty tricks to “pay” for the service. So if you are frugal like me, what are your options to keep your costs low but avoid all of these negative consequences of free and cheap hosting? I say your best option is to simply find an affordable WordPress host that you can trust to offer you great service and features for the price.
An Affordable (And GOOD) WordPress Hosting Option
Rather than selecting a WordPress hosting option based on cost, you should really consider finding an option that offers both features and transparent pricing. I personally recommend WPEngine. WPEngine has extremely affordable plans starting at $29 per month for 25,000 visitors. The price covers everything from 10 GB of local storage for fast performance to a free SSL certification for customer trust to 24/7, 365 support to answer any questions you have about your website. Choosing the affordable WordPress hosting WPEngine is a much better option for your business than risking everything for free hosting because you will always know what you are getting for the price.
Free hosting may seem attractive to even the cheapest among us, but with the risks and poor quality, it will end up costing you far more in the end than just choosing an affordable WordPress hosting service like WPEngine.